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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  February 26, 2024 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

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today. when she shared the news of her donation to the student body. watch this. >> i'm happy to share with you that starting in august of this year, that albertan college of medicine will be tuition free. [screaming] [screaming] [applause] [applause] >> absolutely extraordinary. i realize most of us do not have a billion dollars to give. let this be a beautiful reminder that we can all make a
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difference. if you need to help, please ask for. if you can get help, please give it. ruth, you are one amazing lady. on that incredible note, i wish you all a very good night. from all of our colleagues across the networks of nbc news, thanks for staying up late with me. i will see at the end of tomorrow. h me. i will see at the end of tomorrow. thanks to you at-home for joining us this hour. really happy to have you here. there's a lot going on. fiona hill is going to be joining us here live tonight. fiona hill, of course, was senior director for europe and russia at the national security council during the trump presidency which means she had a somewhat terrifying front row seat to some of the weirdest things any u.s. president has ever tried to get away with. fiona hill is here tonight as there have been some dramatic developments today about the informant who provided -- who provided the central allegations at the heart of congressional
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republicans efforts to impeach president biden this year. this informant today was sent to jail indefinitely by a federal judge in california. he is in jail awaiting trial. prosecutors arrested and indicted him a week and a half ago, alleging that his statements to law enforcement about president biden and his family not only were lies, but this man had been fed lies and disinformation about president biden by russian intelligence. despite those ties to russian intelligence, a magistrate last week somewhat inexplicably allowed the man to be released awaiting trial with an ankle monitor. but this federal judge in california reversed that decision today, ordered the man jailed, after prosecutors said they found, among other things, nine guns in his apartment, and the judge said that he believed the man was trying to abstain from that united states. well, he will not be abscond from anywhere, he is in jail
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awaiting trial. in this remarkable turn in that story, fiona hill is here to talk about that tonight, about what is apparently now in the third straight election in which russian intelligence appears to be engaged in efforts to help donald trump and republicans, and to hurt that democratic candidate who is running against trump. only this time, of course, there is a big new assist from one american citizen who now runs twitter, where he has ordered a stop to any efforts to even try to block russian disinformation operations targeting the u.s. public, and specifically promoting a new u.s. civil war, which seems to think they are most on to in this election cycle. this platform is hosting and he is personally promoting not only fawning long online interviews of vladimir putin, but also outright propaganda praising life in russia, waxing poetic about how much better russia's and then the united states. he personally, mr. musk, has been a lobbying that the u.s.
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should stop supporting ukraine in its war against russia, telling people to lobby their u.s. senators to not give ukraine anymore support to effectively just let russia win. all the while he has admitted, personally intervening in the operation of his starlink satellite system to stop ukraine from being able to target that russian navy. so russia is doing what it's going to do, right? three elections in a row where russian intelligence is trying to help trump and republicans against the democrats. but it's happening now and in the context of this war. and it's happening now and in the context of this one particular american trying to play a very different role than what the u.s. is doing as its foreign policy. the united states is supposed to have one foreign policy. individual americans are not allowed to have their own foreign policy in contradiction to the united states foreign policy. you can have your own openings but you're not supposed to be directing what the u.s. government does. the united states is also
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supposed to have robust means to make sure we protect ourselves in terms of national defense. the reality this year in 2024 is that the u.s. is being targeted in a third straight election by russian intelligence, trying to mess with our politics and install their preferred candidates in power here. and while we are trying to defend ourselves from that, we are also trying to have one of our allies fight of the russian military in the largest european land war since world war ii. so that's the stance of the united states, defend ourself against russian interference in our election again, and help our allies defend themselves against the russian military. that is our stance against, as a country. the stance of two of our eccentric, erratic, increasingly extremist american billionaires is apparently the opposite stance. and the stance of the republican party as a whole on that score is still maybe up for grabs. so, we will speak with fiona hill about that tonight. we will also speak with her
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about the startling new reports today that one russian opposition leader alexei navalny was killed earlier this month. he was reportedly about to be part of a prisoner swap where he would have been released to the united states. so, like i said, there's lots to get to tonight. but we're gonna start tonight with a name that long time rachel maddow show viewers might remember. this name is george rekers. remember that name? he was famous for being one of the founders of the family research council, one of the original, super anti gay conservative culture war groups that became very influential in republican politics. in the 19 80s, george rekers was a founder of the family research council. he specifically worked in the part of anti-gay politics that says that people can be cured of the gay. it can be reversed with just the right therapy. well, by 2010, there was george
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rekers, being photographed at the airport in miami in the company of a handsome young man , named lucien, who mr. rekers had apparently met on rent boy dot com. mr. rekers first tried to explain it that he had taken this handsome young men on an all expenses ten-day paid trip to your because he needed help with his luggage. the young man himself, you can see here, not helping with the luggage, eventually explain exactly what he was paid for on that european trip. and george rekers ultimately resigned from his job at the anti gay organization. in 2004, one republican president george w. bush was up for reelection, the republican party and the bush campaign enthusiastically promoted bans on same sex marriage in multiple states. they expected that anti gay campaigning in as many states as possible would boost republican turnout and help boost chances of being reelected. you demonize a people, scare
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people about gay rights, you get conservative voters to turn out, and they will vote republican while they're. bush was reelected in 2004. those anti gay state ballot initiatives very well may have helped with that. but then, two years after bush left that white house, the man who had been chairman of the bush campaign at that time came out himself as gay. and to his credit, he then set about trying to write the wrong he had been part of, by persuading leading republicans to change their mind on marriage equality, and to persuade the supreme court to support marriage equality, which they have done at least for a while. but honestly, it's like you can't swing a cat without hitting one of these guys. i mean, those anti gay ballot initiatives that were supposed to help bush get reelected in 2004, they got a big boost in 2004 when a group called the national association of evangelicals, a huge influential religious group, decided in 2004 that they would
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emphatically restate their opposition to homosexuality in all its forms, which effectively endorsed all the anti gay measures that the republicans were promoting all over the country in advance of the election that gear. the national association of evangelicals at that time was led by this man, ted haggard, oh don't treated the country to not at all uncomfortable headlines like this one -- quote, evangelist, i bought meth from gay escort. again, i mean, follow the bouncing ball. he found himself a very handsome man. and it was never totally clear if he paid a handsome man for sex, using that drugs as the method of payment. or maybe if he paid the man for the sex and the drugs together, kind of like a meal deal or something. but, yeah, president of the national association of evangelicals. i got 1 million of these guys. trump's oklahoma state campaign chairman from 2016, it was a
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republican state senator who voted as an oklahoma state senator, that businesses should be able to put up signs that say we don't serve gaze here. trump's campaign chairman in oklahoma, 2016, busted in 2017 for soliciting sex from exactly who you think he'd be doing that from. the republican mayor of spokane, washing ton supported banning gay people from working in schools, later revealed to be meeting new friends, new, you friends all the time at his handle was cobra 82. because of course it was cobra 82. sure, i could go on -- really, i got 1 million of them. how much time do you have? this weekend was a conservative political action conference. it is an annual right-wing conference thing. among the things you can reliably get at cpac every year
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's anti-trans rhetoric by the truck full. and the anti gay sermonizing as well, not an exception. cpac it's run by a man named matt schlapp. it has been four years. and in 2022, ahead of the congressional midterms, mr. schlapp was in georgia. he was campaigning for the republican nominee for senate, herschel walker, remember herschel walker's senate campaign. the walker campaign sent one of their mid-level staffers, a male staffer, to drive matt schlapp around. while in the car, matt schlapp allegedly put his hand on the young man's like, and then, quote, moved his hand and began aggressively fondling the staffers genital area in a sustained fashion without the staffer's consent. the staffer claims that mr. schlapp then invited the staffer to his hotel room. he declined. early last year, that young man sued matt schlapp for sexual battery. and as that lawsuit has dragged
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on, more allegations of sexual misconduct against matt schlapp have come to light as part of discovery in that sexual battery lawsuit, lawyers for the republican campaign staffer discovered that in 2017, at a cpac party, schlapp allegedly attempted to kiss a male employee against his wishes. they also discovered at a fundraising event in 2022, mr. schlapp was accused of stripping down to his underwear, and forgive me -- rubbing against another person without his consent. now, mr. schlapp, for his part, has denied all allegations of wrongdoing. the lawsuit says that the american conservative union, the parent company to cpac, which employs matt schlapp, knew about at least two of the allegations against schlapp before they became public. but the lawsuit claims that the american conservative union has not only failed to remove mr. schlapp from his leadership position. they also failed to pursue any kind of investigation into the claims of sexual misconduct. and so, given that failure to
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do anything about the allegations, the american conservative union has now been added as a defendant in the matt schlapp sexual battery lawsuit. the organization has thus far spent upwards of $1 million on matt schlapp's legal fees, to defend himself in the sexual battery case. but they have meanwhile kept him in place to run the big annual anti-gay conference. because sure, that's fine, who will notice? here was the same matt schlapp, the head of cpac, speaking this weekend about how conservatives , in his mind, need to approach the election this year. >> this year at cpac, we had different groups that are signed up to do different things. and my call to the activists is to get in those rooms. things have gotten so crooked. you have got to be in the room, doing the count. most of these elections are being determined by temps in our
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largest cities. when we get those jobs? the only thing you have to do is you have to intimidate, in that nicest of ways, all these elected officials that continue to flout the law. i don't care what jurisdiction you are in. go to the meetings, make appointments, make it very clear , become with the law. if the citizens don't stand up, nobody in a white building in washington, d.c. is going to make any changes. >> we have to intimidate all these elected officials. i don't care what jurisdiction you are in, go to the meetings, make it very clear. make appointments. we have to intimidate these elected officials, says the head of cpac, the big not at all hypocritical, anti-gay, right- wing confab that just happened under his leadership this weekend. that was a clip by the group, media matters. here is the same man, here is matt schlapp, with trump advisor steve bannon talking about what he thinks is that sort of takeaway message from cpac this year. >> everyone says, oh, this is
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the most important election of our lifetime. i don't know if you call this an election. this is like, the 2.0 of the american revolution. we're gonna have all new heroes come at the end of this year. we are going to remember their names forever. but stop talking, and start doing. that was the theme coming out of this conference. no more complaining, no more talking. >> it's not an election this year, it's a revolution. it's the second american revolution, so no more talking. for his part, here with steve bannon, screwing charm offensive at cpac this weekend, trying to persuade his fellow americans to win people over, you know, his way of thinking. >> they stole the 2020 election. media, i want you to suck on this. i want the white house to suck on this. you lost in 2020! donald trump is a legitimate president of the united states! [applause] trump won!
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trump won! trump won! trump won! trump won! trump won! trump won! >> [crowd chanting] >> his fate and destiny is to have the greatest political comeback in american history. and on november 5th, to drive the vermin out of 1600 pennsylvania avenue. [applause] biden, you and your crime family are nothing but trash, okay? and on the 20th of january of 2025, we are going to take out the trash. [applause] >> behold, democracy. in the greatest nation on earth. i don't know how the election is going to go this year. that is what one side is offering, and maybe that is what the good and great people of the united states of america truly want. but it is not just cpac and
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their illustrious leadership, that's kind of just the tenor of what is on offer here. i mean, even in print, these were adjacent headlines in that washington post last week. biden administration cancels 1.2 billion dollars in student loans with then you repayment plan. right next to, trump and allies planning militarized mass deportations at detention camps. that's that choice, right. relief from high student loans, or using the military to lock up millions of people in huge new camps. adjacent headlines in that washington post on that same day, both parties, at the same point in general election campaign, thinking about what they want to be doing to present to the people about what their ideas of governing. and i don't know which of those who cites the american people is more in that mood for, but it seems pretty clear, to me at least, that the best contrast for the democrats to drop for voters this year is maybe just the simplest one, right?
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normal, popular, practical accomplishments from president biden and the democrats, versus burn it all down radicalism being screamed at that top of their lungs by republicans under trump, and you can't even understand what they're talking about half of the time because they speak in their own code. barbara mcquade, who you know and love from her time here as a legal analyst and explainer on msnbc. she has a new book that comes out tomorrow. it is paul attack from within: how disinformation is sabotaging america. and in her new book, among other things, barb explains what she sees as that connection between disinformation, which is the fundamental basis for the book, and authoritarianism. why do you need to disconnect people from facts about the world, from the knowable truth in all its complexity, in order to get people to endorse extremism, to endorse extreme, new radical changes, to reimagine their lives, and to
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reimagine their country in a way they never thought of before. barb, in her book, talks about the need to hit people emotionally rather than logically. she talks about the -- sort of that utility of the would-be authoritarian leader, or the authoritarian movement, focusing on declinism, convincing people that the country is falling apart. the country used to be great, but it's no longer great. it's falling apart. it's a disaster. if you can convince people of that, they will have an emotional reaction about being afraid at the state of the country. now they will have an emotional reaction about wanting to rescue the country, if convinced that things are so far gone, they will then feel the need for extremists for a strongman to come in and, you know, maybe you have to wreck the place. a country that has otherwise lost. and what that means in practical terms, in terms of actually running a political campaign, that in a matter of months, we will supposedly pick a new president.
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what that means is every day, making sure that your message undermines the idea of democracy and the idea of the rule of law. i mean, this isn't theory. this isn't academics. this is our lives now. trump advisor steve bannon who you just saw there yelling about vermin and trash at cpac, he spent last week telling his podcast listeners that the tom suozzi election in long island was stolen. what! yes, in steve bannon world, this was the story of last week. this is the special election to replace george santos. there's no suggestion there was anything wrong with account or anything wrong with that election at all. but it doesn't matter, a democrat won. and so therefore, steve bannon tells his acolytes, his followers, that that inaction must have been stolen because a democrat won and they should not respect the results. even when it doesn't matter, when it is one special election for one congressional seat, and there's no real controversy about it, still, you have to
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say elections don't count. elections are not real. now, on top of that, we've got the republican national committee losing its chair, ronna romney mcdaniel. it is being replaced summarily by a north carolina republican who is reportedly considered by trump to be more solid, specifically on the issue of throwing out election results. miss mcdaniel was no slouch on this issue herself, but apparently, trump wanted somebody even stronger, specifically, on that point. he's a stop the steal guy. and so, he will run the rnc now if trump gets his way. at, you know, the politics of running against democracy, the politics of getting americans who just trust elections, and ultimately not want them anymore, that is inextricably intertwined with getting americans to distrust the legal system, do not trust the courts and not trust the justice system anymore, do not take it seriously, to not obey its dictates, do not respect
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any of its rules. and barb's book more than anything help me see the connection between those two points, between getting rid of elections, and getting rid of the rule of law. you have to get rid of the rule of law, right? you have to undermine and problem ties it so that you can get away with what you are trying to do with elections. right, and this is all over the news right now. just on friday, that wisconsin ethics commission referred a trump back and multiple republican officials for felony prosecution, for their role in a wisconsin scheme to punish a republican leader in the wisconsin state legislature who trump thought did not fight hard enough to throw out the election results in that state. we want you to throw out those election results. you don't do a good enough job, so we're now going to allegedly commit crimes in order to turf you out of your position. recommended for prosecution as of friday. last week, the u.s. supreme court refused to throw out of the sanctions, that sanctions, that professional sanctions against trump's lawyer sydney
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powell and lynnwood for their efforts to overthrow the election results. mike lindell, mike pillow, last week, he was ordered by a judge to pay up in a contest he held where he promised $5 million in cash to anybody who could this prove his claims that a foreign government helped steal the election for biden. somebody did disprove those claims and now a court says, mr. pillow has to pay. he of course doesn't want to pay, but the court says he must. in georgia, the right-wing group, true the vote, that apparently shamed up all the false claims about the supposed problems in the georgia election in 2020, they made hay with those claims for not just weeks around the election but months and ultimately years. but when it got put through the legal system, they had to admit to a judge that, no, they don't actually have any evidence to backup their claims that there was fraud in georgia. trump and multiple georgia codefendants are not going to go on trial for trying to overthrow the election results in georgia, which they did by citing this fake evidence from
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this group, true the vote. what will happen in that case? will that case come to trial? trump and his codefendants best hope is not their defense, but they're unrelated personal counteroffensive to try to discredit and disqualify the prosecutor to get her thrown off the case. the rule of law is protecting democracy. we have got to get rid of the rule of law. as barb says in her new book, attack from within, even as authoritarians claim the mantle of law and order, they work to ensure it never applies to them. politicians who, when targeted, are deceptive about the motives of investigators and prosecutors, they undermine public confidence in law enforcement officers. in recent years, trump and his loyalists have used this information to attack agencies charged with enforcing the law, like the department of justice, the irs, and in addition to prosecutors, like the manhattan district attorney's office. when trump was under
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investigation for links between russia and his 2016 presidential campaign, he repeatedly called the probe, a hoax, and a witch hunt. he tarred the agencies conducting the investigation as a disgrace. when the fbi agent knocks on a door to seek information about crimes, witnesses are less likely to cooperate with officers they believe are a disgrace. jurors may not believe agents who testify in court after the president has accused their agency of planting evidence. as a result, our ability to enforce the rule of law erodes. attacks on the fairness and independence of the judiciary undermine that credibility of the courts and judges in the eyes of the public, needing to erosion of respect for the rule of law. they also create great danger that someone will turn criticism into action and physically attack judges, very real threat. hypocrisy is like a cold windy day in the winter. you don't love it, but it's not like you don't expect it.
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but what barr pemaquid is writing about in her new book and what you are saying from the campaign this year is something that is not inevitable , but something planned, something systematic, and something very, very radical. the democrats are campaigning against it by saying, we are doing normal politics, delivering normal practical results for real world problems. that republicans are promising to burn it all down. they have to undermine the idea of democracy and the rule of law in order to get to their endgame. the question? including the question for barr, is whether studying it and naming it, and explaining how it works helps us find. joining us now is barbara mcquade, former u.s. attorney in michigan stalwart analyst, explainer of all things legal here on msnbc, and now the author of a new book, attack from within: how disinformation is sabotaging america. barb, congratulations on this book. thank you for writing it and being here to talk with me about it as it's coming out.
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i'm really grateful. >> thank you, rachel. i'm honored to be with you tonight. >> let me ask you, the big picture first. that sort of, i think, meta project in your book is explaining how disinformation works, why people use it, what it looks like when they do use, it sort of how to recognize it in a while. do you have faith at us learning this stuff, studying it, being able to recognize it, know how it works? it's the first step to us no longer being susceptible to it? >> that's the goal, rachel. and we want to have a national conversation about truth and our commitment to. my book is actually very patriotic. i am appealing to people and our commitment to truth because i think we have seen so much in recent years that not only, you know, where people are falling for disinformation, but i think we are also seeing people willingly going along with a con. they are choosing tribe over truth. they care more about the ends justifying the means. so i hope that by dissecting it,
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explaining it, and educating the public, we can all see this information for what it is, so that we can begin to push back against it. >> barb, you write about the united states, extensively, and with a lot of detail. but you also draw on some comparisons from other countries. you talk about strongman leaders, other countries that have transitioned from a mostly democratic form of government to a less democratic form. do you believe the u.s. is particularly vulnerable to this information, or do you believe that we are kind of not exceptional, and it's the same. we are as susceptible to it as every other country. >> actually, rachel, i think we are more susceptible to it than other countries. and that's because some of our greatest strengths can also be our achilles heel. so for example, our deep commitment to free speech in our first amendment, it is a cherished right. it's an important right in democracy, and nobody wants to get rid of it. but it makes us vulnerable to
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claims that anything we try to do to regulate speeches censorship. of course, the supreme court has held all those fundamental rights, even the fundamental right to free speech, can be limited, as long as there is a compelling government interest and the restriction is narrowly tailored to achieve this interest. but i think anytime someone tries to do anything that might limit free speech, people acclaimed censorship. i mean, let's look at the case that the supreme court heard today about efforts by the states of florida and texas to prevent social media companies from moderating content online. and they call it censorship, but they're trying to silence conservative voices. of course, social media companies are private actors who are not bound by the first amendment. and so, we need to have a conversation and common sense solutions to these things. instead, we throw out terms like censorship. we call each other names. we use labels and we all retreat to our opposite sides. we need to be pragmatic and come up with real solutions. but it is, i think, one of the things that makes america
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particularly vulnerable to disinformation. >> well, the book ends with a fulsome detail -- detailed well argued set of concrete recommendations, for what we can do as citizens, and the kinds of reforms and our government and our democracy that might make a difference. and as such, it's a real public service, and a pleasure. the book is called attack from within: how disinformation is sabotaging america. it is brand new, out just as of right now, from barb mcquade, former u.s. attorney of michigan, and our dear friend on msnbc. barb, again, congratulations. and thank you. go get them. >> thank you so much, rachel. >> all right, much more to come here tonight. stay with us. ch more to come here tonight. stay with us.
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so, he was arrested, and then released, and then arrested again in the space of a few days. that informant who provided these central allegations behind republicans efforts to impeach president biden, appeared in federal court today to face charges that he made it all up,
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that the stories he told the fbi about the supposed corruption of president biden and his family, those stories were lies, lies fed to him by his own admission, by russian intelligence. his name is alexander smirnoff. he pleaded not guilty today but the judge hearing his case ordered him to remain in jail indefinitely awaiting trial. apparently, convinced by prosecutors arguments that mr. smirnov might leave the country before his trial. it is really impossible to overstate the degree to which this gentleman has been the centerpiece of the republican's impeachment push against president biden. for months and months, republican lawmakers and conservative media have been trumpeting these bribery allegations made by smirnov against president biden and his family. the washington post today estimates that fox news alone mentioned it more than 2600 times over the past single year. republicans in congress pushed the allegation endlessly, even
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though the fbi explicitly warned them that the claim was uncorroborated and unreliable. and now, the man who is the source of the allegation, the guy who said it, he's in jail, indicted for lying to federal investigators about this very matter, and accused by prosecutors of feeding the fbi this information from russian intelligence, which would be shocking had we not lived through the last few years because this, of course, is now the third straight presidential election cycle in which russian intelligence has done some version of this. in 2016, as you may have heard, russian intelligence hacked the democratic national committee and that hillary clinton campaign. and then, they weaponized the material they stole by releasing hacked emails through wikileaks, all timed and strategically released to have maximum negative effect for clinton and the democrats, and maximum positive effects for trump and that republicans.
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it was well known at that time that this whole thing was like a russian intelligence operation, but trump, republicans, conservative media, and the mainstream media, frankly, mostly aided up and pounced on every single email, as if they came down on mount sinai on tablets, rather than being shuffled by russian intelligence and to the garbage shoot. remember trump talking at rallies about how much he loved wikileaks. he was welcoming it. he was asking for more. russian government and russian intelligence sources made multiple contacts with the trump campaign. russia ran a big weird social media campaign to try to influence american public debate and public opinion in trump's favor. the trump campaign gave non public polling information to a russian intelligence agent, the intelligence committee. the russians have this leak campaign with a democratic emails. they were very busy in 2016 and trying to help trump. then four years later, 2020, another drive, this time, trump's lawyer, rudy giuliani,
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peddling stories about joe biden's supposed corruption, that he said he had dug up from his sources in ukraine. once again, it turned out that giuliani's main source with russian intelligence. a report from the u.s. office of the director of national intelligence later determined that giuliani source was part of a u.s. election interference operation, likely directed by putin himself, with the goal of helping trump win a second term in 2020. and once again, republicans had been warned by american intelligence officials that that stuff that giuliani was shuttling was likely part of a russian operation. they apparently did not just not care. and again, this is not some obscure thing. people got sanctioned by the u.s. government for this. people got indicted by the u.s. justice department for this. but -- who cares? it might have helped trump, so we went along with it as far as we could. and now, four years later, here we are again. they keep doing this every election cycle. they keep doing some version of
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the same thing. the russians keep doing the same thing. what seems to be changing a little bit is that that republicans appear to have fewer and fewer qualms this year about welcoming and even participating in these russian campaigns. fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice, shame on me. fool me three times, i clearly want to be full, or maybe we should stop calling this foolish . this is something else. we did this in 2016. we did this in 2020. now in 2024, republicans appear to be more enthusiastic about participating in it than they ever have been before. but of course now, with this russian disinformation campaign trying to paint biden as mired in some kind of bribery scandal. it's happening with american aid to ukraine, hanging in the balance, with this life or death question looming of whether ukraine would be able to hold off a third year of the russian invasion. russia is doing everything it can to undermine american
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support for ukraine. and in the midst of a third straight effort by russia to influence our election to that republicans benefit, republicans frankly seem quite receptive both to that election interference and to russia what it wants them to do in cutting of ukraine. how does that turn around? fiona hill was the top russia official in the national security council under president trump. she has seen some things and she knows something. and she joins us, next. somethi. and she joins us, next. you can cuddle and brush that hair off. bounce, it's the sheet. no, my denture's uncomfortable! dracula, let's fight back against discomfort. with new poligrip power max hold & comfort. it has superior hold plus keeps us comfy all day with it's pressure absording layer. time for a bite! if your mouth could talk it would ask for... poligrip. >> woman: why did we choose safelite? we were loading our suv when... crack! it would ask for... safelite came right to us, and we could see exactly when they'd arrive
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president putin and the russian security services operate like a super pac. and they declined millions of dollars to weaponize our own political opposition narratives. when -- we cannot come but these external forces as they seek to divide us against each other to destroy the fervor of the american people and our democracy. >> fiona hill testifying at president trump's first impeachment, describing how our faith in our own democracy is that kind of the center of the bulls eye. it's what they are aiming at when they tried to hurt us the worst. well, now, in this election cycle, republican members of congress have been trumpeting claims that turn out to have come from russian intelligence. the informant at the center of their impeachment pushed against biden today was ordered jailed as he awaits trial for lying to the fbi, feeding them what prosecutors say is this
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information targeting president biden that he got from russian intelligence. joining us now is fiona hill, former senior director for europe and russia at the national security council. doctor hill, it's really nice of you to be with us tonight. thanks so much for making the time. >> well, thanks, rachel. both nbc news and the washington post today led with big stories about how this is the third straight election cycle, that we've got pretty aggressive russian efforts to mess with us in this election. do you agree with that characterization? >> i do, and, look, i mean, very sadly, the russians have been at those kinds of operations for a very long time. and going back to the cold war, there was a lot of efforts as well. unfortunately, we have made it easier for them than ever before to be able to penetrate our politics and to be able to influence, basically because of the structure of our own election campaign. so we have got, you know, basically our own political parties that you are trying to destroy each other, and you know, as you have been pointing out through the course of the
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program, we have got a political system -- just as keen on using this information as foreign adversaries. >> because you look at it with that long sweep, i feel like it's one of the big reasons i wanted to talk to you because i have been very focused on 2016, 2020, and 2024 when russian disinformation, russian targeting of us, wasn't just about making us hate each other, making us weak, and making us distrust our democracy. it really was dovetailing lift and therefore boosting donald trump, and that republican campaign, and that helping of one side and hurting the other. maybe that's not the long term goal but it has been their short to medium goal. and that seems to be activating an instinct in that republican party. if putin likes us, maybe we should like him back. and i'm wondering if you see a way to interrupt that. >> well, look, i think it also requires responsible people within the republican party
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themselves to push back against this. you know, it's not every single person who is a member of that party. here we have got nikki haley out there, who is running now it seems almost a futile campaign to compete with donald trump. she's obviously sinks out quite different and calling out. on this information, it's not quite the same way, but she is trying to do. that and i know and many other people know that behind the scenes, members of the senior staff on capitol hill, people in that senate, and, you know, surprisingly still members of congress who behind the scenes have been deeply troubled by this and have been trying to do something. but in the heat of his campaign, as you are pointing out, they seem to be much more interested in taking potshots at president biden, basically trying to bring down the opponent, then thinking about national security. and i would have thought, however, that given everything what's happened with the war in ukraine and the recent death of alexei navalny, and just this disinformation, just as you are
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saying now, this criminal campaign, rather, this prosecution, this fbi informant that truly people have woken up to this. this is the issue of our national security, not just something about whether your guy is going to win in the election. >> on the national security point, i think of the united states as having a lot of tools to stand up for a national security, a lot of resources to bring to bear. but when it comes to defending ourselves against russian election interference, when it comes to standing up for our ally in ukraine and all the different ways that that means, when it comes to responding to the murder of annexing of only in russia, could the u.s. government be doing more? and applebaum joined me last week and she said something that stuck with me, she said if the u.s. where you want to get more serious, one of the things they could do is they could have thousands of people working on enforcing sanctions to make sure they bite harder and they hurt the russian government more and more effectively. i want to get your response on
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that but also find out if you think there is more we could be doing. >> there is certainly a lot more that we could be doing. as pointed, out sanctions, the enforcement, part of the problem. we have seen some allied countries that are basically buying more and more oil from russia and they are labeling them to bring more revenues, of course, to keep on prosecuting the war against ukraine. you know, we have got nato allies, european countries, as well as these larger global partners. you know, we're gonna have to figure out how we work with them directly. it's going to be a stepped up diplomacy which demonstration is already talking about. you have a point about putting more resources towards this now and we are of course also on the verge of a government shutdown. we also have numbers of the party, members of donald trump, talking about dismantling the state apparatus which make it very difficult. but we can be much more creative. we can work very closely with our european allies who have woken up to that threats and to
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get them to also exert pressure and push back. we've got debate about what to do about russian frozen assets, for example, which is a major issue right now. and which i know you've covered quite recently as well. and then, when we get back to the top, what they're talking about, this information, some of the other cases that are running through, even including the supreme court, about freedom of speech and that regulation of the social media platforms become relevant as well because, you know, basically x, which used to be twitter, in terms of stepping back from that regulation of some of the content on their platform, have opened up even more to this information from russia. and and other companies like meta, for example, you know, microsoft, they've actually been trying to do more here. but we should also be encouraging the private sector to step up at this crucial time. >> indeed. fiona hill, former sitting director for europe and russia at the national security council, i really appreciate you being with us tonight to
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talk about all these different matters. really appreciate your time. >> thanks, rachel. thank you. >> we'll be right back. stay with us. with us. ( ♪ ♪ ) start your day with nature made. the #1 pharmacist recommended vitamin and supplement brand. ava: i was just feeling sick. and it was the worst day. mom was crying. i was sad. colton: i was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma. brett: once we got the first initial hit, it was just straight tears, sickness in your stomach, just don't want to get up out of bed. joe: there's always that saying, well, you've got to look on the bright side of things. tell me what the bright side of childhood cancer is.
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so this is going to be fun this week, maybe -- i think probably it's going to be fun. as you know, michigan republicans have been fighting for months now over who is in charge. in january, some michigan republicans voted out there state party chair. then another group voted to keep her in. then in the first group filed a lawsuit to force her out.
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they picked and you share. the national republican party is siding with that new guy saying he is the rightful head of that michigan republican party. but the original chair called the new guy faction an imposture organization fraudulently claiming to be that republican party. she also posted a ten minute video under this amazing caption, quote, chairwoman karamo provides valuable insights that will soon come to light. you see, she provides them and they're coming soon. it's like organizing your own surprise party. here's what we know and what we think we. no there will be a michigan republican primary tomorrow. that primary will determine who gets some of michigan's delegates. the rest of that delegates will be chosen on saturday through a state party convention or maybe through a food fight -- michigan -- because michigan republicans can't figure this out, this saturday, there isn't one, but two competing michigan republican conventions, won in
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grand rapids, announced by the guy who says he is the chair, and one in detroit announced by the lady who says she's the chair and he is an impostor. see, it should be noted, still controlled the state party's website and its bank accounts. so she's got that. when the stakes are this low, political chaos can be fun to watch. it is like a food fight. you know it's wasteful but it's hard not to laugh at like fly note me or hate -- pity that michigan republican voter who just wants to cast a ballot. i mean, do you decide based on how far grand rapids is from your house or detroit. do you decide on whether you like christina as the name more, or as a person, or who seems likely imposture. which michigan republican party will end up being real? will a judge get it sorted out in time for the convention on saturday? watch this space. ? watch this space.
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